June 23, 2017

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

By Kerri Haider

This week Merrill and I headed to the USDA for a day to meet veterinarians in the different APHIS programs. The day started out early- arriving at 7am and going until 5:30pm with a meeting over our lunch hour. Getting up at 4:45am and walking to the bus I felt like I was walking through a scene from The Walking Dead, no one was walking down the usually bustling sidewalks and no cars could be seen. It was an eerie experience but the bus finally came and the trek to Maryland began. Once at the USDA we met with veterinarians from all areas of APHIS such as: Veterinary Services (VS), Surveillance, Preparedness and Response Services, The Avian, Swine and Aquatic Health Center, International Services (IS), Animal Health (AH), National Import Export Services, Office of Interagency Coordination Science, Technology, and Analysis Services, Emergency Management and Diagnostics, National Center for Animal Health Emergency Management, and The Preparedness and Incident Coordination Program. As you can see it was quite the day full of new acronyms and meeting veterinarians with YEARS of experience in many different walks of vet med. We even got to sit in on a Live Animal Imports meeting and learned about the daily struggles that veterinarians in that field have to overcome. One of my favorite meetings involved talking about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and the response to the outbreaks that have occurred in the past few years. It was interesting to see the vast number of departments at the USDA with veterinarians who worked on fighting that outbreak. Overall the day was amazing and I still don’t think I could tell you all of the acronyms that were used in each department!

This Friday AM we decided to take a tour of the Capital building through Senator Al Franken’s office. This was a great experience and a fun fact about the image below is the painted mural that lines the top of the capitol rotunda is a painting of George Washington ascending to heaven. It was an amazing building with deep historical roots of American History and I encourage anyone who is in D.C. to check it out! That’s all for now, stay tuned for a recap after our final week in the big city!